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PSYCHOLOGY AND SCIENTIFIC METHODS 323
"THE MOST DESIRABLE MACARIA"
THERE are many names which flit like pale ghosts without sub-
stance through the corridors of the past, seen now and then
in a brief glimpse at some propitious moment, and then once more
dislimning when the hour is gone. Poor flies in amber, they are
preserved for us by the casual mention of some greater man with
whom long since they used to hold converse on affairs of state. Such
a name is that of Samuel Hartlib, whom few know in these days ex-
cept as the person to whom Milton addressed his tractate Of Edu-
cation, that wonderful idealistic plan
too bright and good
For human nature's daily food,
in which he legislated, it has been said, for a college of Miltons.
"A person sent hither," the Latin secretary calls him, "by some
good providence from a far country, to be the occasion and incite-
ment of great good to this island." If Lycidas has forever en-
shrined the tenuous and uninteresting Mr. King, has rescued him
from the waves of the Irish Sea and made him what Shelley calls a
"nursling of immortality," this sentence, one would think, might
ensure Hartlib a proportionate measure of commemoration, even to-
day. Rathe primrose and pansy freaked with jet for the hapless
divinity student; but one little sprig of rosemary for remembrance
to "honest and learned Mr. Hartlib," as Evelyn calls him, "a public-
spirited and ingenious person."
Born probably in Poland, he seems to have come from Prussia
into England in 1628 ; and from then until his death in 1662, in spite
of depressing poverty and illness that grew more and more torturing
in his last years, he labored night and day for the promotion of
learning. He was in constant correspondence with the most dis-
tinguished scholars of the day — a day of most laudable zeal for the
increase of knowledge. He was fertile in projects for the spread of
scholarship and the useful arts, from husbandry to music. He was
ever ready to furnish a commendatory preface to any publication
directed to these ends, or to rack his brains to find means to pay the
printer of some learned work which could not anticipate a large sale.
He is constantly mentioned with respect by Cambridge Platonists
and men of science; and though, for all his "pansophical knowledge,"
he was no experimentalist, the inspiration he afforded may have had
not a little to do with the gradual growth of what was to be the Royal
Society, amidst the disorders of the Commonwealth time.
Usually, indeed, these placid scholars contrived to enwrap them-
selves in a philosophic calm while the clash of arms and the breaking
324 THE JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY
up of laws went on all about them. Hartlib writes from London
before the sound of the jubilant trumpets proclaiming the Restora-
tion has died away, and only mentions incidentally that the King
is reported to be "a Teutonicus and lover of chymistry," as well
as "an extraordinary lover of musick"; and Worthington goes up
from Cambridge, apparently without emotion, in company with other
heads of houses and doctors, to present a loyal address to the sover-
eign whose return was to mean his own removal from his mastership
two months later.
Yet, as Diogenes was troubled by the shadow of Alexander, there
were times when the noise and turmoil were too much for their peace,
and they felt the need of shelter in which no alterations of polity
should force them to lay aside their folios. Through their sober cor-
respondence runs a thread of hope that their castle in Spain may
become "a habitable mansion on a gravel soil" — though Stevenson's
modern phrase is too prosaic for their imaginings, which are usually
tinted with the stately colors of Solomon's House as described by
Bacon. The loss of the manuscript of "my Lord Verulam's de
Arthritide, a most elaborate tract," which Hartlib deplores, made
little difference to any but gouty old gentlemen; but had the New
Atlantis sunk beneath the waves, more than one seventeenth-century
scholar would have been at a loss for a model to his projected abode
One of the most finished and fascinating of these designs is that
drawn up by John Evelyn in 1659, and sent by him to Boyle as
something not too elaborate and Utopian to be realized ' ' in this sad
Catalysis and inter hos armorum strepitus." Six founders are all
that he postulates for his society, and the total cost is to be within
£1,600. The details are so charming that it is difficult to keep quo-
tation within bounds. He proposes "the purchasing of 30 or 40
acres of land, in some healthy place, not above 25 miles from London,
of which a good part should be tall wood, and the rest upland pas-
tures, or down, sweetly irrigated." Should they find no adequate
house, he has his plans all ready for building, with behind the house
"a plot walled in of a competent square for the common seraglio,
disposed into a garden ; or it might be only carpet, kept curiously,
and to serve for bowls, walking, or other recreations." The rule of
life is drawn out with the same loving care, from ' ' at six in the sum-
mer prayers in the chapel" through a calm and studious day to bed
at nine. Distractions, if allowed, are not of the fiercer kind — "all
play interdicted, sans bowls, chess, etc."; and there is a prescription
which anticipates the memorable conclusion of Candide, "every one
to cultivate his own garden." The plan exposed in detail, Evelyn
PSYCHOLOGY AND SCIENTIFIC METHODS 325
addresses Boyle in a strain of enthusiasm in its commendation.
"And, sir, is not this the same that many noble personages did at the
confusion of the empire by the barbarous Goths, when St. Hierome,
Eustochium, and others retired from the impertinencies of the world
to the sweet recess of such societies in the east, till it came to be
burthened with the vows of superstition, which can give no scandal
to our design, that provides against all such snares."
But the excellent Evelyn, as I have said, was by no means singu-
lar in his desire to escape the confusion of the times. In a Proposi-
tion for the Advancement of Experimental Philosophy, published in
1661, Abraham Cowley, whose death — three weeks after Paradise
Lost was published — was recorded as that of the greatest poet in
England, sets forth a scheme even more elaborate. His foundation
is a little more costly than Evelyn's ; £4,000 a year is the revenue that
it is presumed to need. But on this sum are to be supported fifty-
six persons, from "twenty philosophers or professors" at the head,
and sixteen young scholars under their direction, down to "four old
women, to tend the chambers, keep the house clean and such-like
services." The details are worked out much more practically than
you would expect from a poet, and make delightful reading ; but I
have not space to expatiate upon them; the curious may read them
in his Works. 1
And, apart from these plans for giving pansophical learning a
local habitation, throughout the whole of Hartlib's correspondence
runs the wistful aspiration towards some corporate support in his
projects for the spread of knowledge and the amelioration of the
race. As early as 1641 he had sent forth, though without his name,
a pamphlet embodying his ideal: "A description of the famous
kingdom of Macaria, shewing its excellent government, wherein the
inhabitants live in great prosperity, health, and happiness." And
until almost the very end of his laborious and painful life, his eyes
brighten as he speaks of some encouragement to his hopes. In his
intimate letters the name Macaria stands for a society which was to
unite men of power and wealth with the professed philosophers of
the day and render possible many an undertaking which must else
have languished. More than once he speaks of learned treatises
which can look for no promotion, "except from the most desirable
Macaria." In 1660, under the influence of fair promises from cer-
tain great men, he is convinced that the day is about to dawn. The
learned labors of Petit upon Josephus should be published: "If
Macaria were but once extant or acting, I am still of my former opin-
ion, that they have enough for the purchasing of such things, and
i Ed. Hurd, I., 219.
326 THE JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY
for the accomplishing of harder matters. The last secret informa-
tion tells me they are agreed. I believe they will now within a few
days publickly appear."
Gradually, however, the rainbow colors faded. This was in
June ; and by the middle of October he was writing to Worthington :
"We were wont to call the desirable society by the name of Antilia,
and sometimes by the name of Macaria : but name and thing is as
good as vanished." The name Antilia, he says in a later letter, was
taken from "a former society that was really begun almost to the
same purpose a little before the Bohemian wars ; I never desired the
interpretation of it." Apparently the omniscient Crossley did not
think it worth while to be more curious when he edited these letters ;
but I am tempted to go further and offer the conjecture that the title
may have looked forward to the position reached by Hartlib in 1661,
when he bravely writes : " Of the Antilian Society the smoke is over,
but the fire is not altogether extinct. It may be it will flame in due
time, though not in Europe." For when his hope vanishes in Eng-
land, he says significantly to Worthington, "Gentlemen of your ac-
quaintance are much in love with the country of Bermuda, as the
fittest receptacle for the gallantest spirits to make up a real Maca-
ria." It seems possible that even before the Bohemian wars some
eyes may have turned longingly to the Fortunate Isles where, as in
this very generation Waller sang,
huge lemons grow
And orange4rees which golden fruit do bear,
Th' Hesperian garden boasts of none so fair;
Where shining pearl, coral, and many a pound
On the rich shore of ambergris is found.
Well, why not?
America has many things of which to be legitimately proud: is
there any sufficient reason why it should not also have the credit,
wherever learning is loved, of accomplishing by a joint effort some
of the big tasks in the field of scholarship for whose completion the
world is waiting ?
Our kinsfolk who speak our language have other work just now.
Oxford and Cambridge are but thinly tenanted by a few grave
elders : England must build the temple of learning, if at all, as in the
days of Nehemiah — the sword in one hand, the trowel in the other.
And while they are fighting to keep undiminished for us the freedom
of the civilization which we love, shall we do nothing but grow rich ?
They and we, it is true, have vied in offering hospitality to the exiles
of Louvain; but we may, if we choose, do more. We may set our-
selves to the doing of more than one great piece of scholarly work,
too great for the single scholar of slender means.
PSYCHOLOGY AND SCIENTIFIC METHODS 327
Let me suggest an answer to the question. Our millionaires
have been generous enough in bestowing rich endowments on tech-
nical, chemical, medical research; and that is well. But there are
branches of learning which neither add to the commercial wealth of
our country nor promote the bodily health of our people ; and for
them no millions are offered. Scholars talk quietly of these together,
and wish that they might live to see this or that great work done ;
and they separate with but little hope that their wishes will be
But are millions needed ? I think not. I am wishful to propose
a plan which I think perfectly feasible, for the making of first one
and then another substantive advance.
The initial step would be the formation of a body of say twenty
scholars of national reputation whose names would be a guarantee
alike of the seriousness of the undertaking and of the worthiness of
the aims pursued by those who would work under their direction.
It is not necessary in this initial discussion to mention names ; the
requisite score will probably suggest themselves without difficulty
to most of those who read these pages.
On the publication of the list and with the sanction of these
honored names, an appeal is made for annual subscriptions of $100
to the working fund — not an endowment, but an assurance that the
governing body shall be able to spend so many thousands a year on
whatever undertaking it decides shall be the first. Is it credible that
one man in every million of our population can not be found to give
$100 a year to such a cause? Yet even that means an income of
$10,000, with which a good deal could be done. Twice or three
times the number might well be discovered; and then, with such a
nucleus, a multitude of smaller subscriptions would soon flow in from
those who could not give much besides their hearty sympathy.
The next step would be to select as many men as the funds would
permit, of approved scholarship, preferably men not long out of col-
lege and with the zeal of youth still upon them — and set them to
work. There are many such men who would be only too glad to give
two, three, five years to such work if they could be assured of a live-
lihood. I know them ; we all know them. As it is, they must earn
their bread by the exacting labor of the class-room, and give but the
occasional hours of their vacations to dreams of "great things un-
done." Very probably projects would be preferred which would
permit of cooperation, of the cumulative work of a number of men
over a period of years which could be shortened as the funds in-
creased ; and the material thus gathered would in many cases be put
328 THE JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY
in permanent form by a man possessed of the rarer synthetic gift.
Publishing would again be a matter of funds ; a printing plant is an
obvious development when the time comes for it.
I hesitate to specify particular undertakings, lest, by failing to
include the particular interests of one reader or another, I should
leave any cold; but it is too vague to say simply that they would
range over at least literature, classical scholarship, and history. I
shall, therefore, name a few things which happen to come to mind —
of course such a governing body as I propose could be trusted to
make a wise choice among all the tempting alternatives.
1. An adequate history of the Renaissance, making use for the
first time of the incredibly large amount of material now accessible.
The Italian government is encouraging the publication of the old
chronicles, of a new Muratori, of the epistolaries of famous men, of
the archives of the great baronial families, such as the Colonna —
sumptuous volumes, every page of which is a challenge to the scholar.
Whole periods of history await a rewriting. An exhaustive diction-
ary and bibliography of the Italian humanists alone is a mighty task ;
and though a single overworked individual has already set his hand
to it, it is evidently one for cooperative effort.
2. Organized work for America similar to that performed by the
Early English Text Society; to assemble, edit, and publish (from
rare early editions and from the great mass of manuscripts in the
possession of our various state historical societies) colonial journals,
relations, letters, and other documents of economic, historical, or
3. A supplement to DuCange's inestimable Glossary, working
over the large number of medieval texts which have become acces-
sible since the last edition was published some thirty years ago.
4. In the field of dramatic literature, a complete list of English
plays, with a critical survey of editions (much work on single au-
thors and plays has been done in recent years, but no reliable gen-
eral list exists) ; or an English dramatic history, based perhaps on
Genest, that should give whatever is known of stage history. This
latter would include a complete critical bibliography, even of diaries,
memoirs, proclamations, contracts, that throw light on the subject.
Information on English dramatic history is now hopelessly scat-
tered; the results of much important research have been published
in inaccessible periodicals, and much remains to be done, especially
in eighteenth-century drama.
5. A history of the Jesuits, on such a scale as Lord Acton might
have planned. Whatever view, admiring or hostile, one takes of this
stirring society, it is incontestable that they have touched the his-
PSYCHOLOGY AND SCIENTIFIC METHODS 329
tory of the last four hundred years at innumerable points ; and, ex-
cellent work as has been lately done on special parts, there is in
English no respectable history of their operations as a whole. Yet
the facilities for such a work are now far greater than they have
ever been before.
6. A series of summaries of monographs in various languages,
arranged by subjects; a series of intelligent indices to certain large
and frequently used works now without them ; and other such tools
for the hand of the next generation of scholars.
7. A beginning to be made at an enormous but invaluable piece
of work — the sort of encyclopaedia which, as my friend, Professor
Alexander, of Nebraska, has suggested, 2 is the only sort that is worth
while beginning for the future on a large scale: a rivulet of text
meandering through a meadow of bibliography; a bibliography not
made, as they have too often been, in the manner of a hasty after-
thought, consisting of titles carelessly swept together from other
reference works, but slowly and thoughtfully constructed by men
who have read the books they recommend and can say which are
worth while and why; in a word, "the slow assembling and refining
of that ever-increasing expression of fact and fancy which we call
the course of civilization."
For myself, I should like to see at least a man or two kept con-
stantly busy with careful copying and intelligent editing for publi-
cation of the vast mass of historical manuscripts which are useless
now to those who can not afford to spend months in London and
Paris, Vienna and Rome. But if I were to name all the fascinating
things I should like to see accomplished, I should never have done.
The point is that not a few of them could be done, if some such
plan as I have here briefly outlined were put into operation; and
many a scholar would have cause to bless "the most desirable
Macaria. ' '
Surely in this age, in this country of unbounded resources, one
need not end as Cowley did in 1661: "All things considered, I will
suppose this proposition shall encounter with no enemies: the only
question is, whether it will find friends enough to carry it on from
discourse and design to reality and effect ; the necessary expenses of
the beginning (for it will maintain itself afterwards) being so great
(though I have set them as low as is possible in order to so vast
work), that it may seem hopeless to raise such a sum out of those few
dead relics of human charity and public generosity which are yet
remaining in the world."
1 think better of America than that. A. I. du P. Coleman.
College op the City of New York.
2 New Republic, August 12, 1916.